4 things to do instantly when you feel anxious

by Chantal Bufe

The thing about anxiety is that it comes in so many shades that it is challenging to identify. From excessive worrying to difficulty sleeping and restlessness to fatigue and concentration issues. From irritability and tension to increased heart rate and palpitations to sweating and hot flashes. From trembling and shaking to chest pains and shortness of breath to feelings of terror and impending doom.


Seeking therapy or medical help are essential steps to consider when there is a chance of chronic anxiety. However, the source of our feelings that are commonly associated with anxiety is often linked to a specific scenario, like keeping safe during a pandemic.


With this scenario in mind, there are four things you can do instantly to make yourself feel calmer.


1. Remember that our anxieties are often reactions to past regrets or a future that has not happened yet. Be mindful and get yourself into the Now where things ok for the moment and from where life will unfold just the way it should. We are unable to control most things in life (even when we think we do), but when we surrender, we start to relax into what is meant for us, and "life begins to flow with joy and ease." - Eckhart Tolle


2. Try and separate your thoughts from yourself. Remind yourself that your reaction to a specific situation is just that: a response you chose to outside circumstances. While we think we can control people or situations, most of the time, we have no influence thereof, no matter how hard we want to alter the course of a circumstance or change someone else's mind. So, remind yourself and make use of your superpower you have as a human, which is the freedom to chose your attitude at any given time in any given circumstance. You can chose again and again, repeatedly, until your new response matches what you want to feel: calm and optimistic.


3. Try and remember all the things that you can be grateful for. This will help you refocus your thoughts on all the positives you have in your life. This will remind you that what you might have perceived as unfavorable is usually a construct of your mind and not reality. Even in a dire situation, there is always something to be thankful for this very instant. And by shifting to a positive mindset fuelled by gratitude, you move both your thoughts and energy, and you will notice life flowing more easily.


4. Take a breath.


PS: Breathe: the 4 - 7 - 8 breathing technique


(Photo: Boram Kim/ Unsplash)

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